Ron Burkle's Yucaipa American Management filed suit in Delaware Chancery Court Wednesday, alleging that Barnes & Noble and its directors "breached its fiduciary duty by upholding a 'discriminatory' poison pill provision that would prevent the company from being sold," Reuters reported, citing documents filed yesterday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, "said the pill entrenches Chairman Leonard Riggio, who founded the company in 1965, and the incumbent directors in a 'self-dealing scheme,' and prevents other shareholders from buying the same level of voting power as the Riggio family," Reuters wrote. Yucaipa also called B&N's corporate governance policies "deficient."
B&N's board responded by dubbing the lawsuit "meritless" and claimed Burkle filed it to "advance his own self-serving agenda." The board also said it "intends to submit the rights plan for shareholder ratification within 12 months of adoption," Reuters noted.
After running a column earlier this week exploring what Amazon claims are First Amendment issues raised by North Carolina's request for resident-buyers' names and the amounts they spent with the e-tailer, the New York Times in an editorial wrote that "this case is not really about privacy and free speech. It's about how far Amazon is willing to go to protect a business model that relies on not collecting sales tax. Noncollection gives Amazon a major unfair advantage over rival retailers that do collect sales tax and deprives hard-pressed states of much-needed revenue."
Jeff Bezos, Amazon's chairman and CEO, sold two million shares of his company May 3-5, netting approximately $267 million. The Puget Sound Business Journal, which based its report on a filing Wednesday with the SEC, noted that "Bezos is still a big owner of Amazon, holding 90,158,027 shares of the company."
More on the flooding in Tennessee:
Grey James, a principal at the East/West Literary Agency and v-p,
president-elect of the Women's National Book Association whose offices
are in Nashville, reported that the Barnes & Noble at the Opry Mills
mall next to the Grand Ole Opry and Opryland Hotel is "a total lost."
Several other stores have had temporary disruptions: Cokesbury Bookstore
in Nashville was open all week but the shipping department had to delay
shipments for 48 hours, and Bookman/Bookwoman in Hillsborough Village
in Nashville closed on Sunday but was undamaged.
No word yet on
the Davis-Kidd bookstore or Borders.
Phil's Fire Fund has been created at On Point Credit Union to assist Phil Wikelund with clean-up and repairs of the Great Northwest Bookstore, Portland, Ore., which was destroyed by fire this week (Shelf Awareness, May 3, 2010). The Oregonian reported that the Portland Area Used Booksellers Association is contributing, and donations will also be collected at the Rose City Used Book Fair in June.
Are customer membership programs a financially rewarding way to build community relationships? Bookselling This Week examined the loyalty programs at Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C, and Capitola Book Café, Capitola, Calif.
"You can be very creative about what you offer and cater to your own community," said Capitola's general manager Wendy Mayer-Lochtefeld, who also advised booksellers considering such a program to "ask yourself why you're doing it."
Partnerships with local radio and television stations are another way for booksellers to raise their profile and reach out to customers. Libby Manthey of Riverwalk Books, Chelan, Wash., and Nancy Olson of Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, N.C. spoke with Bookselling This Week about their media strategies.
"I highly recommend bookstores affiliating with major media in the area," said Olson. "People watch TV!"
Manthey, a twice-monthly guest on Another Story, a radio segment on KOZI FM, said, "I have had more locals coming into the store since I started the radio show. Many people are spending time browsing. We have made shelf-talkers indicating the books that are featured on the show. We are fine-tuning the in-store promo of the show, electronic promo, and website promo. We are still working on the podcasts being available on our website and not just KOZI's. We are small town, and KOZI is small town social media."
Borders Australia online has declared a price war against Amazon.com, guaranteeing to beat Amazon's prices and signaling "a new era in the way Australian booksellers compete in the global online market," according to the Sydney Morning Herald
, which noted that REDgroup Retail, owner of Borders Australia, "is willing to back up this promise with the guarantee that if a customer finds a book cheaper on Amazon.com, including purchasing and freight costs, then Borders Australia will refund the difference plus 10%."
Cool idea of the day: For the past year, Watchung Booksellers
, Montclair, N.J., has regularly hosted "Writing Matters
," panel discussions for aspiring writers that attract standing-room-only crowds. The project was the brainchild of suspense author Jenny Milchman, who proposed the idea to bookseller Marina Cramer.
"We instantly knew there was a place for it," Milchman told the Montclair Times
, which reported that with "her knack for titles, Cramer gave the series its name, and the two organizers brainstormed ideas. Topics so far have included humor, food writing, publishing short fiction online, and whether writing can be taught."
"Book publishing is in transition. We don't know how it's going to shake out," Cramer said. "There are opportunities in self-publishing and print-on-demand and Internet publishing that weren't there before. But we don't know how it's going to affect bookstores. That's one of the reasons we're finding such an enthusiastic response: there are new opportunities, and people have questions about them."
"Getting involved with the independents is a way to build readership," Milchman added.
's Jared Newman offered a feature wish list for Google Editions, the new e-book store scheduled to launch this summer (Shelf Awareness
, May 5, 2010). His suggestions include a book-sharing option, a used book marketplace, an attractive interface, "sweet mobile Web apps" and digital storefronts that allow indie bookstores "the ability to interact with their online customers through live recommendations by chat or VoIP and news feeds of what's happening at the physical store. Otherwise, the storefront is just a limited selection of what you could get at Google's mothership."
An early peek at Amazon's Kindle 2.5, "an updated version of its Kindle firmware that brings more integration with the rest of the world by adding social networking support and the ability to see the most popular highlights in the book you're reading," was offered by Ars Technica
Ten years ago, a library in Almere, the Netherlands, undertook a radical transformation inspired by "how retail stores appeal to their customers. The shops provided inspiration for ways to organize the new library into zones, new ideas for displaying books to make them more browsing friendly, and the creation of displays targeted towards their frequent visitors," psfk.com reported. You can see photos of the stylish bibliotheek
--- Internet Archive
plans to scan thousands of books into its digital database to more than double the number of titles available for visually impaired readers, the Huffington Post
"We'll offer current novels, educational books, anything," said Brewster Kahle, the organization's founder. "If somebody then donates a book to the archive, we can digitize it and add it to the collection.... Publishers mostly concentrate on their newest, profitable books. We are working to get all books online."
At Other Press:
Paul Kozlowski, formerly director of sales and
marketing, has been named associate publisher.
Corinna Barsan has
been promoted from editor to senior editor.
Katie Henderson has been
promoted from associate editor to editor.
Effective July 1, Continuum International Publishing will move its customer service and distribution functions to National Book Network's distribution facility in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa. Continuum will continue to maintain its independent sales, marketing and editorial offices in New York City.
Continuum publishes some 600 books each year and has a backlist of 7,000 titles, primarily in the humanities, education and religion. Its smaller trade list includes books devoted to popular culture and the media.